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Life on the train

St. Pancras Railway Station

I seem to spend half my life in St. Pancras Railway Station. Today I was passing through London on my way to Reading for a visit there tomorrow.

On the train from Nottingham I had a cheap advanced ticket. These are tickets where you pay a low price because you guarantee to be on a particular train. When you get on the train there are several announcements that if you have this type of ticket booked for a different train your ticket will not be valid – this, after all, is the point of this type of ticket – and you have to buy a full price ticket. These announcements are so explicit that I always get a pang of worry that I might have miscalculated and am unnecessarily relieved when my ticket is stamped.

Still, there are people around me on nearly every train I travel on with invalid tickets. I have seen a poor chap with not enough English to understand what is happening be kicked off at Beeston to plead his case at the ticket office; I have seen a girl cry when made to buy a new, full price ticket.

Another similar situation is Loughborough, where there is a short platform. You have to be in the correct carriages to get off. There are so many announcements about this that it is really quite irritating, yet people still get angry when trying to get off at the wrong door.

Today, the repetitive announcement was that the train was the express, stopping only in Loughborough and Leicester. Still, a group in front of me were booked for Market Harborough, where the train does not stop.

I am always nervous on trains that I may have miscalculated my travel plans, and I know mistakes can be made. Nonetheless, I am amazed at how often these problems arise (and I only see the small parts of the small number of trains I am on), when considered relative to the frequency of the warning announcements.

This makes me think about my role promoting the IMA. I must tell people the IMA exists, what it does, that there is information on the IMA Student webpage. I worry that I will begin to sound repetitive and annoying, but my experiences on the train make me wonder: how many times do I need to repeat the message before people hear it?

One Response to “Life on the train”

  1. Anonymous


    Trust me, no matter how often you repeat the message there will always be one person who says “eh”! I have experienced this a lot with The Galois Group, and am no longer surprised when people ask me what The Galois Group is. It is up to us to remain patient and persistent.



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